|Trail Length: 50.0 miles||Type of trail: Point to Point|
|County: Lumpkin County, GA, Gilmer County, GA, Fannin County, GA||Our rating: D|
|Features: camping, ATaccess||Your rating:|
|Usage:||Added on: January 01, 1995|
|Last hiked: May 24, 2001||Updated on: February 01, 2009|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Lumpkin County, GA
Hiking trails in Gilmer County, GA
Hiking trails in Fannin County, GA
The origin of this challenging trail, which can be steep at times, is Springer Mountain at the Appalachian Trail sign. For the first few miles the trail winds down Springer, occasionally rejoining and sharing the same path as the First Trail. The BMK follows a portion of the original AT, which was extensively rerouted after 1957. Looping further west, the BMT crosses Chester Creek a couple of times before Three Forks (Chester is one of the creeks that make up Three Forks).
Almost exactly 1 mile past the footbridge over Chester at Three Forks the Benton MacKaye turns left (and the Duncan Ridge Trail begins, leaving the Appalachian Trail for the last time until it rejoins America's Footpath 250 miles further north. The Duncan Ridge Trail shares the footpath with the Benton MacKaye until shortly after crossing Route 60.
Unlike its eastern brother the Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye does not wind through federally protected land at all times. Its not uncommon to find yourself in the midst of summer homes and roads with traffic that can be heavy at times. Wind-blown, sun-dried farms and outbuildings can be easily spotted, their dingy gray in sharp contrast to the brilliant greens of summer. Industry rears its head in many places that are actively logged today. Recently the members of Benton MacKaye Trail Association received the endorsement of the National Parks Service and two National Forests.
on the Benton MacKaye
The Benton MacKaye joins a road to cross the Toccoa once again, this time on Shallowford Bridge. Using county roads for almost 5 miles, the Benton MacKaye leaves Stanley Creek Road just past the Falls Branch Bridge, begining the climb to Rocky Mountain. A short (.25 miles) way up the mountain a side trail leads to Falls Branch Falls. Climbing 1400' to Rocky Mountain, the Benton MacKaye Trail follows ridges to Cherry Log. Here the footpath crosses US 76(515). This is a very dangerous intersection as the crossing is poorly marked and the road is high speed. The path follows state and county roads to Bush Head Gap.
After this the trail only occasionally runs near roads (so much the better) and this portion of the path is only lightly traveled. The BMK continues past Flat Top to Dyer Gap where it crosses old Highway 2 into the Cohutta Wilderness.
The path then winds through the wilderness until it returns to old Highway 2 near this sign(left). From here the path takes a more northern route to the Georgia/Tennessee border, entering a true wilderness area. We have not walked this part of the trail, and it is fairly new. Because of this, the trail is not on any maps we have seen, and it is only because of Tim Homan's most recent "Trails.." book that we know it exists.
The entire trail is marked with white diamond blazes. Please note: This trail is being worked on and it has been a while since we hiked it past US76, so be prepared for changes.
Benton MacKaye Trail, Section I
Your guide to hiking and walking trails in the state of Georgia